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I plan to file a complaint for damages caused to a home that…

I plan to file a...
I plan to file a complaint for damages caused to a home that I was purchasing. The complaint will be filed in Circuit or District Court, what would I put for the cause of action?
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Answered in 4 minutes by:
3/28/2018
Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: JA Mentor
Verified

Hi,

I'm Lucy, and I'd be happy to answer your questions today.

Disputes arising out of the sale or purchase of a home fall under the realm of Breach of Contract. If you're claiming that they violated the contract in bad faith, then you could also have causes of action for Breach of the Implied Warranty of Good Faith and Fair Dealing or Fraud.

But when looking at the Civil Cover Sheet, it's "Contract Other (Not Debt Collection)".

Have I answered your question? If any part of my response is unclear, please reply WITHOUT rating so I can clarify. My goal is to provide excellent service, so if I've done that, please give me a 5-star rating before signing out. Thank you for using JustAnswer.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
The home my wife and I purchased was under contract. We had placed $9000 down in earnest money and had the remaining money (certified check) at the title company. One week before closing, my brother, without anyone’s permission, went into the home and turned off the water in hope of ending the contract. Broken waterlines caused $90k+ in damages. He wanted to cause harm to us both financially and mentally by keeping us from buying the home. My brother is also a realtor and would have profited greatly if we did not buy the home. What causes of action can I take?

That's a crime. You could file breaking and entering and vandalism charges.

As far as a civil lawsuit goes, it depends. Are you still planning to buy the house? Does the contract say anything about who is responsible for damage that occurs prior to the closing?

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Usually, if the contract is silent, the seller would have to deliver the property in the same condition it was in during the inspection. Meaning they're liable to pay to restore the property, and then they would sue your brother for the property damage. Assuming you're not buying the property FROM your brother.

As an aside, either you or the seller could report your brother to the state realtor licensing board for unethical behavior.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
I do not know what you mean "if the contract is silent"

If there isn't a clause that makes you responsible for damage that occurs between the signing of the contract or the inspection and the closing, then the seller is the one who would have to pay for it.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Lucy,Ther is a clause that the seller shall pay for any damages before closing. This is and has been a very, very long and complicated ordeal. The trust manager who has very unjustly taken sides, allowed the brother to have a key while my wife and I were no-trespassed. Yes -- I do plan to file a claim against the trust company, but for now, what would I title the complaint and would I have multiple complaints?CAUSE OF ACTION: INTENTIONAL DESTRUCTION OF PROPERTY?CAUSE OF ACTION: FRAUD?

It matters because, in order to sue, you have to show damages. If the seller is responsible for paying, then you can't bring the claim as property damage. They would have to be the ones to sue.

If you cancelled the contract, then the cause of action is called Tortious Interference with Contract (which falls under Unspecified because it's not listed on the cover sheet). But one of the things you have to show is that his actions made you cancel the contract, and that can be tricky is the seller is both legally obligated and willing to pay to do the repairs.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
If the brother does everything in his power to stop the sale of the home and gain financially, there is nothing I can file against him for? The contract was not canceled, but my wife, son and I lived in a townhouse for 5 months, ate at McDonald's and paid for moving twice, thanks to my dear brother.

You can sue for the extra moving expenses due to his actions. And if the townhouse cost more than the mortgage on the house would have, you can seek the difference. That would be a tortious interference claim.

Tortious interference also carries punitive damages, so once you can prove that his illegal actions cost you money, the judge can order him to pay you an additional penalty to discourage him from doing this type of thing in the future.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
As I said, I absolutely plan to sue the trust company. What you are telling me is that I have little recourse against the brother, but can go for all damages from the trust company? Should I file against them jointly?

That's not what I'm saying. Tortious interference would be a claim directly against your brother. You haven't mentioned a trust company anywhere in this conversation, so I'm afraid I'm not clear on what trust company you're referring to or why you would sue them. I never suggested suing any trust.

Regardless, breaking and entering and property damage are crimes, so a third party wouldn't be liable for your brother's conduct.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Lucy,I did mention the Trust Co earlier;"The trust manager who has very unjustly taken sides, allowed the brother to have a key while my wife and I were no-trespassed. Yes -- I do plan to file a claim against the trust company".The trust company has defiantly taken sides and the brother was allowed access to the home even though the trust company knew there was very bad blood between him and me. I plan to have the Trust Company manager deposed soon and I doubt that they know that the brother turned off the heat and water. Also the trust manager has ignored everything in the trust agreement, including money that was supposed to be paid to me for upkeep to the home. Question: would it be better to file against them jointly?

Did you mean to post this on your other question page? Because I've read this entire page several times, and that text is nowhere on it. I've also used the find command, repeatedly, in case I was missing something. It's not there.

Regardless, the trust company is not liable for your brother's illegal actions, as stated above. Even if they were negligent in allowing him access to the property, his decision to break the law would supersede any liability on their part.

You could sue them for breach of contract for ignoring the trust agreement. Typically, you would file against both defendants jointly if there will be an overlap of witnesses or evidence presented in the separate cases, or if filing one case against each presents a possibility of inconsistent judgments.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Lucy,Not sure if something is not showing on your end, but if you look at the paragraph where I start off with the typo "Ther" at 9:53.Anyway, as I said, this has been a very, very long and complicated ordeal. Besides Tortious Interference, is there anything else I can add file against my brother?
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Back to my original question: I would like to file a claim against my brother who knowingly turned off the water to the home just one week before closing. His intentions were malicious and intended to cause aggravation and financial loss to my wife and me. His actions were most likely illegal and the trust company probably knows nothing about this. Besides Tortious Interference, is there anything else I can add to the claim such as:CAUSE OF ACTION: FRAUD
Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Lucy,I do not explain myself well, I am typing a complaint against the brother. For the damages which you say he did illegally. What would I title the complaint as?
CAUSE OF ACTION: MALICIOUS DAMAGES?

This question was posted at 10:14 am this morning. There are no posts at 9:53. I think you're referring to your other question page, where another expert was helping you. It's OK, I found it.

The cause of action is tortious interference with contract. You damages are because he caused a delay in the purchase of the house. The seller could sue him for malicious property damage, because they're the ones who have to pay to fix what he did. But that's not something you would sue for, because you're not out money specifically for repairing the property. Your damages for the extra move and the townhome are because he tried to prevent you from buying the house. That's tortious interference.

Please rate my service positively, as this is the only way that I get paid for the time spent answering your questions. Thank you.

Lucy, Esq.
Lucy, Esq., Attorney
Category: Personal Injury Law
Satisfied Customers: 32,264
Experience: JA Mentor
Verified
Lucy, Esq. and 87 other Personal Injury Law Specialists are ready to help you
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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
CAUSE OF ACTION: CONVERSION?

Conversion is the civil equivalent of theft.

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Customer reply replied 4 months ago
Lucy,
Thank you for your help.
Please see screenshot attached, my screen shows you as the recipient at 9:53?

Thank you for sending that. I'm going to notify tech support, because it never came through on my end.

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